Rêve or Dream is the only title used by Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul for all his paintings. Each one of his canvas' is prompted by its predecessor, whilst simultaneously informs the next as each one carries an individual narrative. Dahoul's minimalist palette and his signature treatment of the use of the monochrome, positive and negative, full and empty, depict a world where apparitions and ambiguity dominate sine he abandoned colour in the 1990s.
The female figure in this painting appears to be in a state of transience as the title Rêve suggests. She is immersed in solitude and dominates the composition, therefore leaving marginal space for movement which constitutes another characteristic of Dahoul's signature style. This painting captures many of Dahoul's recurring themes of loneliness, scale, space, dreams, reality, freedom and captivation. There appears to be a direct tribute as well as a tracked compositional inspiration from the great Spanish master Pablo Picasso's Profile of a Seated Woman painted in 1956. Like Picasso, Dahoul salutes the classical way of painting a seated model which directly analyses her status but Dahoul's figure conveys a completely different emotion than Picasso's. Her face is positioned in the upper right of the canvas, as if separate from the fragile body resting over her knees. Lit with serenity and peacefulness, her face bears empty frozen emotions, whilst her eyes are wide open like black holes dragging the viewer into the unknown. She is in a fetal position searching for the motherly embrace, unfortunately not found in the stiff, tight wooden chair which in perspective is not even fit to hold her.